Down to Zero

Well it's been a little while since I updated my online story about the troublesome 'C' word and how it's been affecting my life.

Since I last put pen to paper ... or rather put fingers to keyboard ... Prostate Cancer seems to have taken a more high profile position in the UK because of its impact on well-known celebrities like Stephen Fry, Bill Turnball and George Monbiot as well as recent television programmes like The Full Monty.

High profile is good, because, as much as I have been working hard to encourage my male friends to have their PSA tested, this constant presence on the news about prostate cancer can only help. However, PSA testing as a method of diagnosis is not very reliable and what we really need to be doing is investing in research. This month saw the announcement that more men now die of prostate cancer than women die of breast cancer. The recovery rate for women has come about because of the fantastic investment and success in the research and development of the techniques used to diagnose and cure breast cancer - and we now need the same to be done for prostate cancer.

I have been doing my bit by talking to both the medical profession and prostate patients about the journey - and if anyone else would like me to come and talk to you or your group, please do get in touch.

As for my personal progress - I am now 8 months into my treatment so I am still radioactive! At around 9 months, the strength of my radioactive seeds should have fallen to nearly zero so the normal cells can then start to recover so I should soon start to feel my body recovering.

My own PSA level has been dropping significantly (see the attached graph) which made my medical professionals very happy ... but not as happy as it made me! My PSA score needs to fall to zero after Brachytherapy ... and it is well on track for that however, there is often a known 'bounce' at about 2 years into the treatment so I may well have that mental challenge to deal with soon. The 'bounce' can raise the PSA score back to peak levels and normally then drops again, but I may not fully know whether the C has gone for about 5 years! Quite a journey ...

 

The physical journey is now improving ... and you didn't ask, but here are some details!

The radioactivity makes you feel very tired and that, plus the disturbed sleep caused by the need to get up for a wee during the night, means I permanently exhausted. I am still off the caffeine, which is an irritant for your urethra, and I have to say I AM missing coffee!
I am also supposed to be off the alcohol, but my nurse recently told me that I would sleep better with a little 'tot' before bedtime, so I took that to mean all alcohol is definitely allowed again!

Another possible side effect is impotence which luckily appears to have not raised its head - or is that the wrong way round? I have to say, you don't feel particularly sexy when you feel radioactive or in the depths of despair, but, at least things are working! No, you didn't ask did you ...

Mentally I am feeling much better now and there have been a few days over the last couple of months where I have not given the old C-word a thought, which can only be a good thing!

From the depths of doom and the sad thinking, it is fascinating how you move into a more positive phase when the treatment has started. It has definitely had an effect on the way I want to, and am changing, how to live my life.

More of that to come ...

Business is booming, on the up, new products have been developed and will be back from the printers very soon ... and we have just started working with new business partners in France which is all rather exciting - so looking forward that looks very positive.

So I am now waiting for the next blood test and based on the current progress it should be down to below 0.5, so fingers crossed.

In the meantime, today is a day to eat chocolate of all descriptions so I am off to hunt for more with friends and family.  I am delighted to confirm that my research has found that Prostate Cancer can be defeated by drinking red wine and eating chocolate ... but there again, it is April Fool's Day!

Happy Easter!

Read my earlier Prostate Cancer Blogs too:

Well I wasn't expecting to wake up this one

and

Climb Every Mountain

Neil